Although few gay actors have been permitted the luxury of openness, many of them have challenged and helped reconfigure notions of masculinity and, to a lesser extent, of homosexuality.
Considering the unique set of problems facing lesbians who want to produce erotic art for the enjoyment of other lesbians, it is remarkable that so much lesbian erotica has been produced in so brief a time.
Lesbian actresses have played a significant role in Hollywood, but their contributions have rarely been recognized or spoken of openly; the "lavender marriage" is by no means a relic of the past.
Although American gay film icon Brad Davis has been described as "the first heterosexual actor to die of AIDS," he was widely known as bisexual within the entertainment community.
Long-distance swimmer and respected sports commentator has in more recent years spoken out on issues of glbtq rights.
The greatest dancer of his time, Rudolf Nureyev also gave the world a new and glamorous image of a sexually active gay man.
While nude depictions of women appear in most cultures, on both sides of the equator, and in rich variety, lesbian artists have been particularly resourceful in their use of the female nude.
Handsome, athletic, graceful, and charismatic, actor Errol Flynn was widely rumored to enjoy sexual relations with men as well as women.
Todd Spiewak (left) and Jim Parsons.
On October 18, 2013, numerous celebrities attended the Ninth Annual GLSEN Respect Awards at Los Angeles' Beverly Hills Hotel. The event honored those who work to make the country's schools safer by educating students and teachers about the effects of bullying. Actor Jim Parsons and his partner Todd Spiewak were presented the organization's Inspiration Award, while acclaimed producer and screenwriter Linda Bloodworth Thompson received a Lifetime Achievement Award.
The star-studded event featured entertainment by Steve Grand, whose "All American Boy" music video created a sensation earlier this year.
Some of the celebrities attending the awards spoke with Entertainment Weekly about having been bullied themselves.
Dan Bucatinsky, for example, remembered being bullied by a next door neighbor when he was growing up. The actor, who recently won an Emmy for his portrayal of a gay father on Scandal, said he could not imagine not supporting an organization like GLSEN.
"GLSEN has such a simple mission statement, which is simply that no kid should be afraid to go to school," he explained. "I love the fact that this is an organization that is focused on teaching educators and kids about respect."
Mayim Bialik, who costars with Parsons on The Big Bang Theory, said that she was bullied as child, which is why she is hypersensitive about the subject, especially now that she is a mother.
Bialik presented the Inspiration Award to Parsons, who recently won his third consecutive Emmy as Best Actor in a Comedy for his work on The Big Bang Theory, and his partner of ten years Todd Spiewak, a designer and art director. Parsons earned plaudits for his stage performance in a revival of Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart, and will appear in an HBO production of the play that is currently in production.
In the video below, professional athletes Robby Rogers and Jason Collins open the awards ceremony.
Steve Grand performs "All American Boy" at the Respect Awards.
Actress Mayim Bialik and GLSEN student ambassador Carly Friders present the Inspiration Award to Parsons and Spiewak.
Parsons and Spiewak accept the Inspiration Award.